Helping Support the Next Generation Learn Skills in Data and AI – Microsoft Imagine Cup Junior 2021

The students of today are the people who will drive and deliver change tomorrow. As such it’s important to give them the opportunity to develop and learn new skills and technologies that will empower to not just succeed in the future but do so in an ethical manner.

That is why Microsoft have extended the Imagine Cup to younger students with the Imagine Cup Junior Artificial Intelligence for Good Challenge.

What is the Imagine Cup Junior

The Imagine Cup Junior 2021 gives students aged 13 to 18 the opportunity to learn about new and upcoming technologies and how it can be used to positively change the world. Introducing students not just to AI but to Microsoft’s AI for Good initiatives, so they can develop ideas that help alleviate and solve social, cultural and environmental issues while also encouraging the development of additional skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

How to Participate

Educators, Instructors and Parents/Guardians can submit applications for their students, submissions must be an original solution that each team of one to six students have created. For the submission to qualify for the 2021 Imagine Cup Junior, each application must comply with the challenge rules and regulations.

For more information and to receive access to the virtual events / learning materials mentioned below please: Register Here!

Virtual Events

To help guide students through the world of AI educators can register to get access to the below webinars and recordings here.

  • Webinar 1: An introduction to AI and Machine Learning
    Available on-demand
  • Webinar 2: AI Applications in real life: How AI is already changing your life
    Available on-demand
  • Webinar 3: AI for Good: How to change the world with AI
    8 February 2021 at 09:00 – 10:00 am (Universal Time)
  • Hackathon: Get your projects built!
    16 March 2021 at 08:00 – 11:00 am (Universal Time)

Imagine Cup Junior for Beginners

New this year, the Imagine Cup for Beginners kit has been introduced for educators and students who are new to AI and would like to take part in the challenge. Educators can use this step by step kit to run their students through the Imagine Cup Junior content in 5 x 45-minute lessons.

Educator and Student Resources

For those who would like to take their learning further, Microsoft have educator guides, student guides and lesson presentations for the following modules:

  • Module 1 – Introduction to AI
  • Module 2 – Machine Learning
  • Module 3 – AI Applications in Real Life
  • Module 4 – Deep Learning and Neural Networks
  • Module 5 – AI for Good

Build your project in a day

An exciting student ready challenge presentation with accompanying educator resources guiding them through building their project through to submission.

This will contain inspirational videos from the Microsoft AI team and Education team to guide the students as they build out their projects.

The Wick Editor Stretch project

The Wick Editor is a free, open-source tool for creating games, animations, and everything in-between. As part of Imagine Cup Junior, Microsoft has partnered with Wick to give students the ability to enhance their code with artificial intelligence. Using video, image and text analysis, the Wick Editor enables a connection to Azure Cognitive Services to help students make their games and animations even more fun to interact with. Bring your ideas to life and tell a story with the Azure enabled Wick Editor for your hack this year.

Challenge Recognition

Microsoft are excited to see the ideas students come up with, the top 10 submissions globally will be announced in 10 June 2021 and will receive an Imagine Cup Junior trophy and a group mentoring session with a Microsoft Vice President.


  • Challenge launched         30 September 2020
  • Submission deadline       21 May 2021
  • Winners announced       10 June 2021

If you’d like to learn more, please follow the links provided or stay tuned as in our next blog we will talk about some of the free resources provided as part of the Azure for Students Starter.

Ben Murden
Ben Murden

Ben has over two decades in the IT industry, delivering both online and offline campaigns across all platforms to meet business goals and objectives. Joining Phoenix in 1999 as a graphic designer, Ben has evolved over the years into a fully-rounded marketing professional, before being promoted to Phoenix Marketing Manager early in 2018, reporting directly to the MD. With his background in creative design, Ben takes projects from inception to execution and can identify the correct strategy based on the subject, audience, and goals – while increasing the brand profile and revenue. His passion for digital marketing is evident in everything he does, and both vendors and strategic partners often comment on his incredibly positive attitude to ‘make things happen’.

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